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Lives saved estimated at nearly 345,000 since 1975
WASHINGTON – Seat belt use in the United States has reached its highest level since the Federal government began regular national surveys in 1994, according to a study released by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- "The best way folks can protect themselves in their cars is by wearing a seat belt," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "Whether you're a driver or passenger, in the front seat or back, the simple act of wearing a seat belt significantly reduces the risk of fatality and major injury in a crash."
- "Vehicles have many more safety features today than ever before, but there is nothing more important than the simple seat belt," said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. "We are encouraged by this progress, but with so many people still dying in crashes because they are not wearing their seat belts, we will not rest until we reach 100 percent."
Of note in the latest survey is that seat belt use is higher in the West than in the other regions of the U.S., and seat belt use continued to be higher in the States with primary belt use laws. Thirty-four states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have primary seat belt laws for front seat occupants, while 15 states have secondary laws. In many of these states, the law is primary for younger drivers and/or passengers.
Other significant increases in the last year are among drivers and passengers of vans and SUVs, and those in rural areas.